WARNING: mild spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk!
As soon as I saw the title and cover of Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson while I was choosing my July Book of the Month, I knew I’d be choosing this book! In case you aren’t aware, I am in the military, so a historical fiction novel about women in the military… sign me up!
Disclaimer: at the end of this post, you will find my BOTM referral link. This post is not sponsored by BOTM.
“Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has ever seen, but they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.
As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else.
When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will, at last, be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves.
Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II.”
Read This If You Love…
- WWII history
- Women in the military
- Black history
- Strong female characters
My words when I finished Sisters in Arms: “oh my gosh.” This book made me feel ALL OF THE FEELS. One chapter had me laughing while one chapter had me crying while the next chapter had me enraged. It was one of those books! However, it is not surprising given that this is a historical fiction book that wraps up military history, women’s history, and Black history in one story.
Kaia Alderon’s writing is so descriptive and specific that I could picture what was happening in my mind as if it were more of a movie.
Alderson also does a great job of depicting the era this book takes place in and it is worth noting here that this book does not hold back from covering the racism, segregation, and violence Grace Steele and Eliza Jones are victims of.
I appreciate the fact that Alderson didn’t sugarcoat military life, especially the challenges that Black women in the military faced back then (and they still face some challenges now!).
Above all, I love that this book is an amazing story and a history lesson in one. Sisters in Arms tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, also known as the Six Triple Eight. The women in the Six Triple Eight were all Black and charged with sorting backed-up mail during World War Two. These women went above and beyond to get the mail out to the men stationed throughout Europe.
And before you think, “it’s just mail,” I am going to interrupt that thought and say… It isn’t “just mail” to a service member, especially back then. Letters were service members’ lifeline to home and it kept them going. Even when I was in boot camp, I ALWAYS looked forward to mail time because hearing from my friends and family kept my morale up and homesickness at bay. My husband has deployed a few times and has said he always looked forward to the care packages I sent him (as did the people he worked with because I often included things for him to share).
Sisters in Arms gets five out of five paws from me!
The story wraps up so nicely and is one of the most powerful pieces of historical fiction I’ve ever read.
I got Sisters in Arms, Kaia Alderon’s debut novel, from Book of the Month. Click here if you are interested in subscribing and we can read together!